Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Life of Julia

While reading Best of the Web Today, it was difficult not to be surprised and disappointed by what seemed to be a poor attempt to poke fun at Obama's policies via a girl named Julia.
Her story is told in an interactive feature titled "The Life of Julia". Julia, who has no face, is depicted at various ages from 3 through 67, enjoying the benefits of various Obama-backed welfare-state programs. As a toddler, she's in a head-start program. Skip ahead to 17, and she's enrolled at a Race to the Top high school. Her 20s are very active: She gets surgery and free birth control through ObamaCare regulations, files a lawsuit under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and pays off her student loans at a low interest rate. We get updates at age 31, 37 and 42--and then the narrative skips ahead 23 years when she enrolls in Medicare. Two years later, she's on Social Security, at which point she can die at any time. 
The entire paragraph seemed like a horrible parody made by Republicans to poke fun at Obama's policies by showing that a woman could basically live her whole life off the backs of taxpayers, so it was at first surprising to see that Taranto quotes a David Harsanyi raises an obvious objection to the story: "What we are left with is a celebration of a how a woman can live her entire life by leaning on government intervention, dependency and other people's money rather than her own initiative or hard work. It is, I'd say, implicitly un-American, in the sense that it celebrates a mindset we have--outwardly, at least--shunned." Why is that an objection if that's exactly the point of the feature? Overall, it's not a great parody, anyway: The missing gaps, while still a minority of her life, don't fit into the cradle-to-grave government care narrative, and there's no discussion about the actual costs to taxpayers of all these policies, which would seem to be important to make the point cogent.

...and then I realized that I'd skimmed too quickly and missed a few key words:
on the Obama campaign website
I was so surprised by this that I had to double-check and click on the link to see. It would seem quite telling that an Obama campaign feature meant to praise his policies comes off as a caricature of his policies, wouldn't it? Yuval Levin (via CWY) even notes that Obama runs the risk that it will be mocked not just by the right, but by young men and women who won't be able to resist such an easy opportunity, undermining his campaign from within a core constituency of his. (Best line: "It’s like Portlandia earnestly offered up as a drama.")

Overall, it can't help but make a person wonder if this is as outlandish as it appears or simply a vote grab early on in the campaign among his base. It tries scaring women who aren't bright enough to understand both sides of the coin and who will believe the twisted misrepresentation of Romney's policies, it promotes the idea of government assistance at every stage of life, and the like. It is very difficult to believe that these ideas resonate with most Americans, who still believe government's role is to be a safety net, not a caregiver, even if they disagree on the size of the net. Then again, perhaps the President and his advisors are so completely out of touch with what Americans want (or don't care, and these are their views on what's right), as we've seen previously with ObamaCare [interestingly referred to as such on the feature] and many other policies.

Either way, it's an important feature to see: Obama's policies as presented by his campaign. If that's what you want, vote for Obama; if not, though, I would suggest voting against.

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